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TOP NEWS: National Grid Annual Profit Down Amid Nationalisation Threat

LONDON (Alliance News) - National Grid PLC on Thursday reported a significant reduction in annual ...

Alliance News 16 May, 2019 | 8:35AM
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LONDON (Alliance News) - National Grid PLC on Thursday reported a significant reduction in annual profit but expressed confidence in its future performance.

For the financial year ended March 31, the gas and electricity utility posted pretax profit down 31% to GBP1.84 billion from GBP2.66 billion.

Revenue slipped 2.1% to GBP14.93 billion from GBP15.25 billion, while operating costs rose 2.6% to GBP12.06 billion from GBP11.75 billion.

The reduction to profitability was also in part due to GBP648 million taken in respect of exceptional items and remeasurements.

Notwithstanding the weaker performance, National Grid proposed a total dividend of 47.34 pence per share, up 3.1% on the prior year's 45.93p. This was after recommending a 31.26p final payout.

"We made good strategic progress across the group last year, delivering GBP4.5 billion of investment driving strong asset growth of 7.2%, all while maintaining reliability and safety across all of our networks," Chief Executive Officer John Pettigrew said.

He added: "Looking ahead, we will continue to contribute to the important regulatory agenda in the UK and the US, to create value for shareholders, and play a central role in driving decarbonisation. We remain on track to achieve asset growth at the top end of our 5-7% range in the medium term."

The company said it expects its annual investment programme to increase in financial 2020 to almost GBP5.00 billion.

"For financial 2020, we continue to expect a good financial performance in our US business following the agreement of a number of regulatory filings. As expected, the UK business remains on track to deliver continued outperformance," it added.

With regards to the UK market, where the Labour Party is seeking to bring UK energy networks under public ownership, National Grid separately told the Press Association that nationalisation was the "last thing" that was needed as the "enormous distraction, cost and complexity" of the proposals would distract from efforts to combat climate change.

Under the plans due to be unveiled on Thursday, Labour would create a National Energy Agency to replace the National Grid which would own and maintain the transmission infrastructure while overseeing targets for decarbonisation, and protect energy as a "human right".

A National Grid spokeswoman said the proposals would delay the progress being made to move to green energy, saying: "National Grid is one of the most reliable networks in the world, we are also at the heart of the decarbonisation agenda.

"At a time when there is increased urgency to meet the challenges of climate change, the last thing that is needed is the enormous distraction, cost and complexity contained in these plans."

National Grid shares were trading broadly flat at 843.10p each early Thursday morning.

By Elena Cherubini; elenacherubini@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
National Grid PLC 855.10 GBX 0.46

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